Tom Green and My Balls

How his testicular cancer episode made me fear God.   

Sax Carrby Sax Carr

I should probably start with "Hey guys in 2011! Remember the Tom Green Show?" 

No, I won't do that. You have the internet now. Your world is filled with free pornography and the ability to Google two words. Which is way different than 13 to 14 year old me still watching MTV and with a 56K dial-up modem connected to AOL listening to that one Korn album on my Winamp player.  

Now that we have the introductions over let me embed this right here: 

You don't have to watch the whole thing right now. Please read my humorous anecdote first. That's the beauty of the "watch later" button. 

Immediately after watching this episode and hearing him sing "Hey kids feel your balls" I was stricken with the intense fear that I too had ball cancer. Was I a little lumpy? Did I have any of the symptoms they talked about in the show? It was pretty scary for little 13 to 14 year old me. I immediately became suspicious to what I could have done to get ball cancer.  

So being a good Catholic I blamed touching myself as the probable cause.  

I couldn't even drive yet; I hadn't even kissed a girl and I knew deep in my heart that God was punishing me for touching myself. And now here was Tom Green telling me (in between the Jennifer Lopez music videos, oh the cruel irony!) to touch myself and make sure I didn't have cancer. The contradictory messages did nothing to assuage my growing frantic nature. I was all alone in my bedroom with concrete proof that I had ball cancer. God had smited me for my secret desires. So I called the one person that could tell me everything was all right. 

Me: Mom! 
Mom: What? What is it honey? 
Me: Mom I, uh *sob* I think, I think I have cancer. 
Mom: … 
Me: MOM!  
Mom: Sam, that's impossible. 
Me: WHY!? 
Mom: You just had a check-up last week. 
Me: But mom, I just felt my balls. 
Mom: You don't have cancer Sam.  
Me: How do you know!? I might have got it in the last hour!  
Mom: Do you need me to feel your balls? 
Me: No! Why would you even say that!? 
Mom: (laughing) Because it's funny! 

Well, I guess mom knew better than me because I ended up not having cancer after all. Turns out there are a ton of other symptoms and methods to checking yourself if you have testicular cancer. But thanks to Tom Green and his ball cancer special I had a new found fear of God (and of my mother). Calamity can strike any of us at any time, and the mere threat of a terrible disease can humble even the proudest man. Even when that man is an impressionable 13 to 14 year old who hasn't kissed a girl.  

A little note about The Tom Green Show. I loved that show as a kid, nothing else gave me the same type of belly laughter as he did. A lot of his critics called his material sophomoric and dumb, and that Freddy Got Fingered was one of the worst films ever made. But I can look back at Tom Green now (currently doing a stand up world tour) and see the quiet brilliance of his performances. He took delight in screaming at things and playing with dead animals, but the key to his material was that he always took a childlike innocence to the world around him. Tom Green wasn't being an obnoxious ass just for the sake of it (was he?) he was wondering aloud why everyone else was so uptight, and that formed the base for his show and the majority of his career.  

In case you think I'm reading too much into the meaning of Tom Green's work I'll end with this deleted scene from Freddy Got Fingered. Taking a page from incomparable Lucille Ball, Tom goes to work on a assembly line for sandwiches. What follows is a brilliant subversive commentary on the rise of industry, the marginalization of the middle class, and sexuality. 

Or maybe it's just Tom Green screaming with cheese slices on his face, you be the judge.